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Sat Jun 22, 2013, 09:38 AM

Rooftop PV

Last edited Sat Jun 22, 2013, 11:55 AM - Edit history (1)

Our privatized energy grid gatekeepers are fighting rooftop solar via building codes and influencing politicians at local, state, and federal levels.

They prefer coal, nuke, gas fired, or massive "green" projects. Projects like towering solar collection plants, geothermal, or big windmill farms. All of these serve their interest...the interest of centralization of their profits. These also use huge amounts of water.

A change in thinking is needed for a true green revolution in energy to take place.
Away from the centralized electricity production model.
One where the public owns the electricity grid and rooftop solar installation and maintenance is done by many people creating hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs. One where "traditional" electricity production plants are relegated to emergency standby status as we make the transition.

my two cents


Costly Boondoggles:

7 replies, 1146 views

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Jun 22, 2013, 12:05 PM

1. The problem is that your PV is worthless without the "centralized electricity production model".

Unless, of course, you don't mind losing all your electronics when it gets cloudy for a while.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 22, 2013, 12:24 PM

2. Let me be clear

When I say "centralized" I mean a privatized system like we have now where we pay a private entity for electricity.

I favor instead community based and publicly owned solutions for solar production (Photovoltaic) and storage (Fuel Cell...etc.) of electricity.


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Response to SHRED (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 22, 2013, 12:33 PM

3. Utility electricity, as probably the most highly regulated industry in the country

is largely already a "publicly owned solution". It's a balancing act and it's far from perfect, but despite disasters like 1990s dereg and Enron, over its history it's been spectacularly successful and a model for the world.

I think many DUers are unfamiliar with the complexities of managing energy so that it's always there when we need it. Multiple, "independent" energy producers would have less oversight and be prone to even more corruption and fraud. It would be disastrous.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 22, 2013, 01:02 PM

4. The only "Multiple, "independent" energy producers"...

...I support would be subject to a democratically controlled government.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 24, 2013, 11:57 PM

5. What about peak capacity in the grid?

Wouldn't rooftop PV address a major issue with the grid - peak capacity? Doesn't peak power needs correspond to when the sun shines - AC usage?

If I had a PV system on my roof that supplied 40-50% of my needs during peak periods, that would reduce that amount of coal my utility would have to burn to meet the demand.

Didn't the peak power rates in Germany decrease 20% last year? Do you think PV had anything to do with it?

Peak power generating capacity is like having an eight lane interstate that is empty most of the time. Outside of rush hours - there's excess capacity. And for the power companies - selling their electricity to another utility at peak rates is a big money maker - at the expense of the ratepayer.

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 25, 2013, 12:22 AM

6. Except for summer months, peak consumption is around 9PM at night.

At least in California, probably varies somewhat elsewhere. I know it seems weird, but so it is.


As far as the rates go there are a lot of different factors and different utility programs but in general you have it backwards. Most utility companies charge more for electricity during peak and less for off-peak, and generation is coordinated on a fairly tight schedule by the independent system operator based on predicted usage - once a day ahead of time and fine-tuned an hour ahead of time. Transmission lines would burn up in a heartbeat if power was simply dumped into them with nowhere to go (see graph at link).

Residential solar costs utilities money because they're forced to buy excess energy back, but they still have to maintain capacity for when it's cloudy. They still have to pay for maintenance on the equipment and have it ready to go on a minute's notice - clouds moving over the sun and drops in wind can cause major shifts in line voltage, which have to be balanced dynamically. While equipment sits idle they lose money. These plants are usually natural gas because they can ramp up and shut down quickly.

I don't have a problem with paying more for clean energy. While my utility offered it I paid about 30% extra for a Green energy plan which was supposed to require the utility to purchase a corresponding amount from renewables. But because solar requires natural gas backup it's not carbon free and and won't be for the forseeable future.

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 25, 2013, 12:50 AM

7. Re: Germany I don't know about peak rates but in general:

“The fact that German electricity prices are among the highest in Europe, must serve as a warning signal,” said the IEA. “The transition to low-carbon energy requires public acceptance, and therefore retail electricity prices to remain at an affordable level.”

Germany’s so called “Energiewende” aims to raise the share of electricity from renewables to 50pc by 2030 and 80pc by the midcentury, a huge challenge for a country with an energy-hungry industrial base.

Environment minister Peter Altmaier says costs could reach €1 trillion by 2039, though this could be trimmed to €700bn by slashing feed-in tariffs. The vast sums have begun to alarm German taxpayers while industry fears that heavy reliance on wind power in the North Sea could prove exorbitant and risk an energy crunch. "


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